An innovative study by Chico State researchers examines how spent brewer’s grain from a locally-owned brewery can be used in winter feed for cattle. Dr. Kasey DeAtley, assistant professor, and Dr. David Daley, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and administrator for the Agriculture Teaching and Research Center, are developing sustainable waste management for the brewery while simultaneously benefiting beef production.

The strategy provides a new sustainability model in which one industry’s by-products are diverted from the waste stream and used by a second industry to reduce food production costs. The research indicates that cattle who received distiller's grain-supplemented feed ate more, digested it better, and gained more weight. California’s extended drought enhances the importance of this research, as feed costs are now 80 percent of total production costs for regional farmers and ranchers.

Chico State’s research not only evaluates how beer by-products may serve as a cost-effective component of feed for livestock, but points to potential cost savings and income for brewers.

Chico State students are closely involved in the research, feeding the animals, taking weight measurements, collecting samples, and conducting analytical work. The research is funded by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company—founded by Chico State alumnus Ken Grossman—and the CSU Agricultural Research Institute.